There’s no better way to experience wild places than to put your boots on and your feet on the ground, one in front of the other. South Africa has a huge variety of awesomely scenic hiking trails. Here are some of the highlights.
Table Mountain and the surrounding Cape mountains have an abundance of excellent hiking trails and walking trails that will take you through attractive and scenic mountainous landscapes. Overlooking the city and urban areas of Cape Town you have the famous landmark of Table Mountain towering above the city.
The distinctive lure of Table Mountain comes not only from its famous silhouette but also from its diverse, natural habitat that has so much for you to explore. The great thing about the mountain is its convenient location and the variety of walks on offer. You can go for a gentle stroll or a serious hike, with paths in all directions, starting from many different locations.
Hiking in the Table Mountain National Park
This short summit offers panoramic views of Cape Town and unbeatable sunsets. It’s a popular route to do at night when it’s full moon, and if you’re relatively fit you’ll find yourself at the top quite quickly. There’s a little bit of climbing involved, but there are handholds and chains to help you on your way up and down. You can also take the roundabout way which skips the climbing part if you are walking with small children or your dogs.
This path zig-zags up from Tafelberg Road (where the Cable Car Station is) and then takes a steep route up to the peak. There are fantastic views of Table Mountain and the city below once you reach the top.
This climb up Kasteel Poort is not for the unfit; although, the Cable Car does offer an alternative route for those unwilling to walk up. From the top of Kasteel Poort you’ll be able to see all the way across the Twelve Apostles, and once you reach the front of the mountain, the city views are incredible.
If you’re in the city and craving a nature fix then this small reserve on the lowest slopes of Table Mountain is your solution. You can walk your dogs in this forested area, or just go for a stroll. Once you’ve walked up a bit you’ll have a clear view of the mountain right ahead, and here you can choose to link up to a longer hike if you’re up for it.
You may have spotted this cave from De Waal drive, it’s a thin crack in the mountain that invites exploration. You can reach it from either Rhodes Memorial or from Tafelberg Road, both routes offer expansive views of the city below.
This hike takes you all the way to the top of the other side of Table Mountain; it’s a lot quieter than the front side and has the added beauty of large, still reservoirs. There are various routes to the top, but they are all fairly strenuous, so if you’re not used to hiking then rather start with something a bit shorter.
The eye of the elephant in question is a large cave in the Silvermine Nature Reserve that, with the help of a squint, resembles the head of these large creatures. Though all the way across the city from Table Mountain itself, the reserve is still part of park, and has great picnic spots next to the reservoir where you can braai in the colder months.
This is also in the Silvermine Nature Reserve, but on the other side overlooking Muizenberg. It offers fantastic views, interesting rock formations and plenty of untouched fynbos.